Under Pressure (3:57)

Cover of Best of Bowie

From Best of Bowie and 37 other releases

“Under Pressure” is a 1981 song recorded by Queen and David Bowie. It marked Bowie’s first released collaboration with another recording artist as a performer, and is featured on Queen’s 1982 album Hot Space. The song reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart. It was also number 31 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s.

Bowie had originally come to the studios in order to sing backing vocals on another Queen song, “Cool Cat”. For whatever reason, Bowie was not satisfied with his contribution, and his vocals were removed from the track.

Queen had been working on an earlier version of the song under the title “Feel Like” but were not yet satisfied with the result. The final version that became “Under Pressure” evolved from a jam session the band had with Bowie at his studio in Montreux, Switzerland, therefore it was credited as co-written by the five musicians. According to Queen bassist John Deacon (as quoted in a French magazine in 1984), however, the song’s primary musical songwriter was Freddie Mercury — though all contributed to the arrangement. The earlier, embryonic version of the song without Bowie , “Feel Like” , is widely available in bootleg form.

There has been some confusion about who created the song’s famous bass line. John Deacon said (in Japanese magazine Musiclife in 1982, and in the previously mentioned French magazine) that David Bowie had created it.


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